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Treatment guidelines for kids with bipolar disorder published

CINCINNATI Early diagnosis and treatment is important for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder, according to new treatment guidelines. The guidelines were sponsored by the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF), a national parent advocacy group, and were drafted by a scientific consortium led by Robert Kowatch, M.D., director of the Pediatric Mood Disorders Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

"These new guidelines were formulated by a group of leading experts in child psychiatry and are the most up-to-date and comprehensive set of guidelines for the treatment of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder," said Dr. Kowatch. "They represent a major step towards practicing evidence-based medicine in this difficult to treat group of patients. Many of these patients require several types of medications to stabilize their moods, and these guidelines offer several treatment options that are useful for clinicians and families."

It is often necessary to use several medications in combination because these kids are very ill, often suicidal or too manic and depressed to attend school. Stabilizing their moods and allowing them to return to school as soon as possible is critical if they are to lead normal lives, said Dr. Kowatch.

"Doctors are getting somewhat better at recognizing bipolar disorder in children, but there wasn't much to guide them in terms of treatment," added Dr. Kowatch.

The guidelines are designed to help doctors identify the classic form of the illness (called Bipolar-I) in children ages 6 to 17, and suggest strategies for treatment of mania and depression, with or without psychosis, in young patients. The recommendations are based on evidence from research studies done in children and adults, case reports published in medical journals, and consensus by a group of experts as to current clinical practices.

The guidelines will be published in the March issue of the Journa
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Contact: Amy Caruso
amy.caruso@cchmc.org
513-636-5637
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
22-Feb-2005


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